Curried Roasted Cauliflower Salad

I get very stale sometimes!
With my cooking that is!
 I get caught up making the same old thing. Like salads. I’m never very adventurous with salads. I find one I like and stick to it but recently tasted a delicious cauliflower salad and decided to go home and make one. Why I had never thought of Curried Cauliflower Salad, I don’t know but wow, it is so good!
After a bit of time spent googling (and can’t that take lots of time!) I came up with something I really loved. So did my guests.
I started making this Curried Cauliflower Salad but then it took some twists and turns.
My Curried Roasted Cauliflower Salad
Take 1 cup of cashews, 2 spoonfuls of maple syrup, 1 teaspoon of curry powder and a pinch of salt. Mix them up and pop them on a baking paper lined tray (makes washing up so much easier).

 Roast in a preheated 180C oven for 15-20 minutes until lovely and golden brown.

Then break up two cauliflowers into flowerettes.

In a large bowl mix together 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 teaspoon each of salt, ground cumin seeds, ground coriander seeds and dry mustard powder.  Add the flowerettes and mix well. Tip onto a baking paper lined oven tray.

And bake at 180C until tender and golden, about 30 minutes. Toss regularly during roasting.

In a small bowl mix together a dressing of 3 tablespoons honey, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 1/4 cup olive oil. In a large bowl toss together the cauliflower, 1 cup of defrosted frozen peas, 1/2 cup diced capsicum, 1/4 cup diced dried apricot, the roasted cashews and 1/2 cup chopped parsley. Add the dressing and salt to taste. Mix well and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavours to develop.


Making Mozzarella Cheese

Some time ago I spotted a cheese making kit at my local deli. Already having prepared ricotta using Mrs G’s method, I was ready to move on in my cheese making endeavours but not ready to do it on my own. This kit was perfect. The Begininners’ Italian Cheeses Kit by Mad Millie provided everything I needed to make macarpone, ricotta, ricotta salata and mozzarella.
This kit includes a thermometer and pipette (for measuring small quantities of liquid) which are required for subsequent kits.
You just need to obtain un-homogenized whole milk which can sometimes be difficult. I found a local brand from Misty Mountains Farms and I was set to make my own mozzarella cheese.

Calcium chloride is added to the milk which is then heated to 13C (55.5F) before mixing in diluted citric acid. This milk is then brought to a higher temperature of 32C (89.5F) and rennet is stirred in. After 30 minutes the curd forms and is cut and heated further to 42C (107.6F).

Once the correct temperature is reached the curds are scooped into a muslin lined colander and allowed to drip for 5 minutes.

Now the fun part! Put on a pair of rubber gloves and take a handful of curds. Place the curds in a bowl of 70C (158F) hot water for 20 seconds. Now, carefully stretch and fold the curd until it is smooth and flexible.

The balls of mozzarella are place into a bowl of icy salt water for 20 minutes and  then they are ready to eat!

The mozzarella is delicious fresh with red ripe tomatoes and basil but matured for a week in the refrigerator is wonderful on a pizza. Either way I’ll be making this regularly.

A Salad for all Seasons

As the scorching heat of our tropical summer begins to give way to the humidity of the relentless rain of the wet season, I find I am still wanting and enjoying salads of all types. This is a slightly substantial salad which, I guess, could be a light lunch but I enjoy it as an accompaniment to BBQ’s and picnics and, in fact, many other meals. A good friend introduced me to this salad and I was immediately hooked.  
Basically, it is just fried bacon, hard boiled eggs, fresh, thinly sliced mushrooms with baby spinach leaves but the dressing is the clincher – a small amount of Indian curry powder adds zing. 
This combination is irrisistable.
You can, of course, use this dressing on other combinations of salad ingredients… 
…or use a favorite dressing on this combination.   
But first do yourself a favour and try it as it is before you make up your mind that it can be improved. Some things just can’t. This is one of them.
160g baby spinach leaves
150g lean bacon rashes
4 or 5 button mushrooms, sliced
 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
The Dressing:
1/3 cup light olive oil
40ml white wine vinegar
20ml dry white wine 
20ml soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon Indian curry powder
1 clove garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
Remove rind from bacon, dice and fry until crisp. If you’re pedantic, remove the stalks from the spinach
(I don’t). Arrange spinach, bacon, mushrooms and eggs on a wide flat plate. Combine dressing ingredients in a jar….shake well. Drizzle dressing over salad and enjoy!